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The guitar solo that Queen’s Brian May said is perfect

Brian May


The guitar solo that Queen’s Brian May said is perfect

One of the most unique guitarists of all time, Brian May made history as the guitar player for Queen not only for his skills as a player but also for having a unique guitar which provided him a really incredible sound. Called “The Red Special”, the original model of his electric guitar was built with the help of his father when he was still a teenager, since they couldn’t afford one. Curiously, he also doesn’t use a guitar pick to play, because he always used a coin, something that gives him even more a unique sound.


He wrote many memorable guitar solos and had the chance to play with many incredible guitar players over the decades. But there is one guitar solo from one of his late friends that he said once that it is perfect.

The guitar solo that Queen’s Brian May said is perfect

May was a good friend of the late legendary British guitar player Jeff Beck, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 78. Called “a guitarist’s guitarist”, the musician was a huge inspiration for guitar players around the world and was known for his incredible skills as a player, since he really could play almost any kind of music and do things that not many other players could. The guitar solo that impressed Brian May and was praised by him as “perfect”, was the one in the track “Hi Ho Silver Lining”, released by Beck as a solo single in 1967.

It was in an interview with Total Guitar in 2020, that Brian May mentioned that guitar solo. “I was inspired by certain moments of guitar playing like a lot of Jimi Hendrix, a lot of Eric Clapton. The ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ solo from Jeff Beck, who, to me is still – I don’t know where he is in your poll – but to me he is a sort of unattainable perfection.”

“He’s in a class of his own. So I was inspired by things like that and I wanted my guitar to have that voice. I wanted it to have the smooth tones of a singer, but also the ‘consonants’, sort of the definition which gives you the words when you’re singing.”

He continued:

“So I did look for it. And I made a guitar with that in mind, and I think with a bit of luck and a bit of good design I made a guitar which actually did feed back – and that’s another story because all the Fenders and Gibsons of the time were made so they would not feed back,” Brian May said.

The track was originally written by the American songwriters Scott English and Larry Weiss, being first released by the band The Attack, just a few days before Beck’s version. His version curiously had John Paul Jones playing bass, Rod Stewart doing backing vocals and Clem Cattini on drums.

May said that Jeff Beck was a hero to him

After the news of Jeff Beck’s death was shared by his family, Brian May posted a long video on his social networks, paying tribute to his late friend. He praised him, saying he was really a unique artist and that he was one of his heroes. “Jeff was completely and utterly unique. The kind of musician who’s impossible to define. I was absolutely in awe of him. He was only a couple of years older than me, and came from the same area where I came from. But he was a hero to me all along, doing things which I kind of dreamed of doing.”

“(…) He came from my area, so he was a local boy. I saw him play so many times, always with my jaw on the ground, thinking, ‘How does he do that?’ I often think it must have been like being around Mozart and seeing that incredible genius at work and wondering where it could possibly come from. How could he be that great? If you were with Jeff, if you were around his house, he’d come out from the garage, having been under one of his cars for the last few hours, his fingers all covered in grease and much and looking like he’d just kind of crawled out from a ditch somewhere, and he’d pick up a guitar and this beautiful, beautiful, sensitive music would come out,” Brian May said.

The song Brian May wrote about Jeff Beck

He curiously wrote a song about Jeff Beck, which was released on his solo album “Another World” released in 1998. In the same video he talked about that track, which is called “The Guv’nor“.

“He came over to my place here in the studio, played it with me, and we had a laugh. And he played some incredible stuff. Again, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t really pick up a guitar when he was in the room, because he was so incredible. (So) I just wanted to watch and listen.”

“I don’t think I could ever put into words exactly how much I did revere him. I hope I gave him the picture, I don’t know if he knew. But I feel like I wasn’t a good enough friend to him. That’s one of the things that happens, I suppose. But particularly in this case I feel like there were so many times I could have rung him up. I wish I had, to be a proper friend.”

“But Jeff Beck is so unique, so influential on every guitarist I’ve ever met in my life. The loss is incalculable. It’s so sad not having him in the world anymore. I still can’t quite compute it in my head. So this is as far as I can get at the moment, I’m afraid. He was wild, he was unquantifiable and extraordinarily difficult to understand. But one of the greatest guitar geniuses the world has ever seen and will ever see. God bless you, Jeff,” Brian May said.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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